About That Transparency Thing…

As anyone who regularly reads this blog is aware, I am involved in the fight against Common Core in North Carolina. There is a better plan, the North Carolina Education Plan, that would better suit the students of North Carolina–it will encourage critical thinking and improve both their reading and mathematics skills. Common Core is a one-size-fits-all group of standards that is heavily funded by the Bill Gates Foundation and supported by the political class in Washington, D.C. Bill Gates himself has stated, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”  The father of Common Core is the “No Child Left Behind” Law which moved a large part of education in America under the control of the federal government. Just for the record, the federal government does not have the Constitutional right to control local education. Well, No Child Left Behind has morphed into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now before Congress.

On Thursday, Truth In American Education posted an article about the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The article stated:

Because the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) will be the largest piece of federal education legislation Congress will pass in over a decade, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) should allow the bill to be made publicly available for at least 60 days before the House considers it.

The bill is not scheduled to be made publicly available until November 30th. Thus, a vote should not be scheduled until late January. Currently, it is scheduled for December 2; two days is clearly not sufficient. House members will be forced to vote on a bill they haven’t read.

The American people expected a new style of leadership under Speaker Ryan, not more of the same. If he allows a bill of this magnitude to become law without adequately vetting its merits and faults, it will affirm that the same ills that plagued Congress under Speaker Boehner remain fully intact.

Transparency is obviously an issue here, but there are other issues.

The article further states:

What we have heard, but can’t confirm:

The new bill is hundreds of pages longer than either prior version.

It contains new programs that weren’t in either prior version.

There is a new competitive grant for pre-schools- think Race to the Top for Tots

Very complex language that is unclear. This means the US Depart of Education will have tremendous leeway to interpret it to the advantage of the federal government. Because it has discretion over how to administer the law, unclear language makes it easier for the US Department of Education to justify and make decisions to place requirements on the states through its rule-making authority.

Education needs to be under local control. Admittedly, every student in America needs to learn basic English and Mathematics, but different areas of the country have different educational needs beyond that. Americans are individuals, we need to have an education system that educates individuals. One size does not fit all.

One thing that could really help the federal budget would be to get rid of the Department of Education on the federal level. In 1953, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare became a cabinet-level agency of the U.S. government. In 1979, Jimmy Carter created the cabinet-level Department of Education. In 1979, the Office of Education had 3,000 employees and an annual budget of $12 billion. When the Department of Education was created, it had an annual budget of $14.2 billion and 17,000 employees. According to the government Budget Office, the U. S. Department of Education currently administers a budget of $67.1 billion in discretionary appropriations. I truly think it is time for them to go away.

I also think it is time for Speaker Paul Ryan to live up to his promises about transparency.